Halflings are the primary race of Tinris, and it is from this race-name that the word demi-Halfling (compare demihuman on other worlds of the Prime Material) is derived. Halflings are a foundation race.
Being the Children of Ilfandra , the Halflings of Tinris are very plentiful. Tinrisian Halflings are considered the height of civilization and while retaining a good deal of modesty about their status, they remain very self-assured in their own superiority. In modern times, they are peaceful and posessed of a socialist mindset. This status quo came with a price, however, and while most will not discuss the Great War one millenium past, there are many among the oldest Halflings who not only remember, but personally endured the conflict.
The Halfling’s Great War erupted over 3,000 years ago, spanning most of Oryton and claiming the lives of well over a million halflings. The cause of this war is almost completely lost to history, but many rumors exist to suggest that it was due to the encroaching desire of many community elders to stage a gerontocratic coup while others suggest that this was due primarily to several clan or village feuds erupting into a faction based war. Records of this era appear to have either been lost or destroyed with the march of time. The mark of the War upon Halfling culture in the current Era is indelible.
In all actuality, the cause of the Great War was strictly one of deific whimsy. Previous to the years leading up to the first outbreak of conflict, Halflings of Tinris were immune to the full ravages of age. While they would age, increasing their social power and cognitive skills, the aging process simply stopped at the second millenium and death by aging was something unknown to the Halflings. It was something that other races must endure. Some say that the elders grew arrogant and turned away from Ilfander. A year of warnings went unheeded, and then the eldest began to die. The truly pious were initially spared the perceived judgement of Ilfander, but as the conflict spread and Halfling began to kill Halfling everyone over their third millenium died. As it dragged on, the threshold for mortality slowly throttled further and further back. At the end, Ilfander Himself walked among His children and made it clear that no Halfling would ever exceed an age of 70 score years. To temper His perceived judgement, the motherly Ilfandra gifted Her children with their current prodigious rate of reproduction.
Laws were handed down to Ilfander’s most pious remaining servants and clerics and include, but are not limited to:
- Pregnant Halfling women are considered ‘Touched by Ilfandra’ and violence against them is sharply and immediately punished as fits the crime.
- A pregnant Halfling woman found guilty of violent criminal activity shall be allowed to carry her child(ren) to term and will thereafter be sterilized to prevent abuse of her procreative gift.
- Ownership of a weapon is permitted, but use of a weapon to inflict bodily harm upon another Halfling is punishable by imprisonment.
- Premeditated murder is punishable by exile.
- Murder in self-defense is a crime, and punishment ranges from indentured service to imprisonment to exile depending on the circumstances.
- No Halfling may gather a group of more than five others in anger. This crime is punishable by stoning of all involved (though some settlements show preference to the lash) though this treatment is not to result in death.
Beyond the above Laws, Halfling culture tends to operate generally as follows:
There is no nudity taboo – owing, it is said, to the overpowering heat of the average Orytonian day – and as a result most Halflings would not think twice about such a (to them) quaint concept as monogamy. Case in point, the word monogamy simply does not translate to Halfling. Appreciation for another’s physical characteristics is shown openly, and is celebrated both between and within the sexes. While there is no distinct trend on a demographic level towards either homo-normative nor hetero-normative sexual cultures, it is fairly common for younger Halflings to drift between sexual preferences for several decades to a century before deciding on one, if such a decision is ever reached. Domestic partnerships frequently number between four and seven adults, providing for between eight and sixteen children. Extended families share a single residence, the habitats themselves dug in a rather modular fashion to allow for the ebb and flow of a constantly changing population.
Halflings tend to give birth in multiples, which some consider a sign of their divine providence. Females, as a rule, are physically heavier in weight, while being shorter. Most consider this a blessing of Ilfandra to nudge Halflings in the direction of procreation. Gestation lasts for a full year, and most pregnancies are mild and easily delivered to fruition. A single birth is considered something of an ill omen, with the most common being a birth of three and births up to eight are not uncommon.
Halfling culture is a robust one, with traditions stretching back many millenia to the dawn of history and the founding of the world. Gregarious and fun-loving, while remaining focused on the tasks of civilization, Halflings are a widely divergent lot that nonetheless has a certain homogeneity.
Fashion is rather spartan among the Ilfandrazenaren, owing to the scorching and nigh-omnipresent sun. Thongs, halters and loincloths are commonly worn to prevent physical inconveniences resulting from bare breasts and/or genitalia, but otherwise clothing is only worn as required by one’s current task. (Blacksmiths wear leather smithing aprons, Cooks wear cloth ones to keep themselves clean, etc) As a result, the most common way for one Halfling to distinguish themselves from another is by the wearing of a hat. Haberdashery is something of a highly evolved trade, and any Halfling of means has at least two or three hats for different occasions. It is quite easy to determine one’s status within a community by the size, adornment and refinement of one’s headwear. Feathers, gemstones, embroidery and other trappings allow for individualization.
Halfling cuisine consists primarily of heavily spiced meat served with the ponderously leafy vegetables common to Oryton. Coffee is a common dessert beverage, ranging from the very potent to the very mild. Given the global culture of Tinris, it is not at all uncommon for Dwarven and Orcish cuisine to find its way to Halfling dining tables. Tables are usually rather low to the ground, and Halflings predominantly rest on cushions while eating.
Architecture tends to favor that which is simple, yet enduring. Stone buildings serve for some of the primary structures in a settlement, but with the unyielding sun these tend to heat quickly unless magically treated or cooled. Thus, most residences are actually underground. This also has the benefit of allowing for rapid expansion in the happy event of a family merger (wherein several portions of an extended family unite in one dwelling) as well as the prodigious reproduction that Halflings are known for.
While little is known of the culture of those exiled from Orytonian civilization, it has been observed that disconnection from Halfling culture is often sufficient for an individual to fade away and seek a quick end to one’s life. The few exiles choosing to continue living have banded together in very small communities on a span islands close to the homeland of the Elves. This development has led to a surprising number of Elflings, as the hybrid offspring of Halfling and Elf are called.
Government among the Halflings currently functions as a gerontocracy, each settlement led by its oldest citizenry. On average, the Halflings of Tinris live for upwards of 1,000 Tinrisian years and are the longest lived race native to the world. Records of previous governmental styles, as previously mentioned, have been lost. Whispers of an underground socialist movement exist, but it is very unlikely to reach any fruition within this generation.
Physically, Halfling skin tones range from a dark chocolate color all the way through an olive hue, with the average being somewhere in between. Hair color trends more to the lighter shades while eye color trends darker. Haflings tend to carry more body fat than the other peoples of Tinris, though whether this is from largesse or from an biological imperative is a matter of some debate.
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